The Honest Coaches: Which college basketball team will be the best in the country in the 2022-23 season?

CBS Sports college basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander surveyed nearly 100 coaches for the annual Candid Coaches series. They surveyed everyone from head coaches in elite programs to assistants at some of the smallest Division I schools. In exchange for complete anonymity, the coaches offered complete honesty on a number of topics. Over the next few weeks, we will publish the results of the questions asked.

We started our annual Candid Coaches series with one of the questions we ask each season, a query designed to find out which college coaches from every level of the sport think they are most likely to win the 2023 NCAA Championship. I’ve said for a while now that I don’t think it would be There is a consensus on pre-season #1, and this exercise more or less confirmed it given that a) no school even got 40% of the vote and b) 12 different schools got at least one vote. However, 85% of the votes went to one of the teams that ranked it first, second or third in the CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 and 1. So there seems to be something close to the first three consensus. But nearly 100 coaches polled did not vote GonzagaAnd the North Carolina And the Houston In the same order that Gonzaga, North Carolina and Houston are ranked in the top 25 and 1. The results of their answers are below.

Who will be the best college basketball team this season?

Quotes that popped

in North Carolina

  • “Their returning heart gives them an edge over other teams in my mind. I also think the addition of Pete Nance and the continued development of Puff (Johnson) will help them. One of the starters, Tyler Nickel, is an absolute beast and could make a difference this year as well.”
  • “I was very impressed with the way Hubert Davis stuck to his coaching roots but was also willing to adapt and adapt to his people by playing outside the ‘Caroline System’ that had been so successful for decades. They need to repeat their run from last March. Brady Mannick was an offensive threat and would be It is difficult to replace him, but I have no doubts that Hubert will quickly learn how this team can be more dangerous.”

in Gonzaga

  • “Gonzaga brings back so much talent from a great team that he’s not the favorite to win it all. Drew Timme must be better than ever, and I think this will be the year they actually win the national title.”
  • “Gonzaga still brings back a dominant player in Timme, but they have more players in their program, and I think that’s a huge benefit to getting back not only the game experience but players like Hunter Sallis and others who have been there.” It doesn’t have a huge amount of change, probably , like others. I also think there is some value in the culture that has been preserved over time and has been very solid.”

in houston

  • “Houston has an elite culture. They probably play harder than any other team in the country. With the talent they get and the way they defend and the chips on their shoulders, I think they can win everything.”
  • “I’m going with Houston. They have a guy in Marcus Sasser, good players around him and depth. On top of that, I trust a lot in Kelvin Sampson to get the best out of his team and know rotations and combinations better than (other coaches) with the big teams.”

in Kentucky

  • “I think, from top to bottom, they arguably have the best roster and they’re led by the guy (Oscar Chiboy) who I think will be Player of the Year again. I also think there’s something to be said about how their season ended and who they should be back to be.. I looked at Virginia two years ago (won the national title after losing to UMBC in the first round of the NCAA Championship the previous year). I don’t know if they will win the title, but they will be my betting option to do so.”
  • “I heard you say in the podcast (Eye on College Basketball) that the most talented Kentucky squad might not have enough shots. I think it’s true. But they have shots off the bench, and the best basketball in college. I think this is the year that In it Cal gets a second championship. If I can get any roster, I want him.”

Takeaway

North Carolina was ranked #1 in version 1.0 of the Top 25 and 1 published after the 2022 NCAA Championship Game, but I finally dropped the tar heels down the Gonzaga After Rasir Bolton abruptly returns to campus and Southern Conference player of the year Malachi Smith has been committed to the Zags. Having said that, as I’ve mentioned several times, I have no problem with anyone who thinks that UNC should have stayed in number one even after those developments – and 37% of the coaches I surveyed are people who fall for it. category. They consider North Carolina a pre-season favorite largely because the Tar Heels alternately bring every player back alongside Manek from a team that advanced to the championship game in the 2022 NCAA Championship after defeating Duke twice in the final month of the season and ending Mike Krzyzewski’s Hall of Fame career .

But betting markets differ.

Houston and Gonzaga — who finished second and third in the Candid Coaches poll — are actually the two favorites to win the NCAA 2023 Championships at +850, according to Caesars Sportsbook, while UNC is slightly behind Zags at +1000. What underscores this is how reasonable these three teams are to rank in any order — and that the NCAA 2023 Championship is very ready to grab in a way that isn’t always that obvious in August.

It should be a fun season.

For what it’s worth, eight of the other nine teams with outright coach votes are also teams that ranked them in the Top 25 and 1 – specifically No. 4 Kentucky, No. 5 Duke, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Baylor, No. 8 Kansas, No. 9 TN, No. 10 UCLA and No. 11 Creighton.

Interestingly, the only team that was not in the top 25 and 1 to receive an outright coaches vote is Virginia. When I asked the coach who submitted that ballot why he voted for Tony Bennett’s team, this is what he said: “(The Cavaliers got back) everyone, and I feel like they’re ready for another huge year. (They) also (have) some underrated recruits.”

Another ACC coach added who didn’t vote for Virginia but went out of his way to say he thought the Cavaliers would be really good: “(They) found out at the end of last year. They’re going to finish first or second. Our League.”

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